Story: Cat Paws and Bee Wings (chapter 4)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 4

Yoruichi woke up to an empty room, blinking in the sunlight streaming through the partly-opened window. She yawned and stretched, cat-like, then padded (cat-like as well) to the main room of Urahara's shop.

The blonde man answered her unspoken question with a sideways tilt of his head. "She went down to the cavern earlier this morning. She asked me to let you sleep in."

Yoruichi nodded, unsurprised. Places of training had always exercised a strange magnetism on Soi Fon. It probably had to do with how the girl had been raised.


Inside the darkness, there was silence. Inside the darkness, there was the quiet shore. She was the shore, and the visiting sea brought her many things. They came in waves: her fears, her joys, her anxieties, her desires. She let them come, let them touch her vast expanse, knowing that they would only stay awhile; knowing that they would eventually retreat, eventually fade, like all things did. Like even she would, vast expanse that she was, each wave stealing a grain of sand, eroding her (the quiet shore) bit by bit; her consciousness and her mortality merely the last grains of an infinite beach. The waves came and went, came and went, swarming and retreating, lapping and leaving, until the shore and the stillness became one.

And when she had become the stillness, she let the silence expand -  let it take her upward and forward, until poised at the very brink, she surrendered herself to motion.


Yoruichi gazed, entranced, at the fluid artistry before her eyes. As a member of the Shinigami's highest nobility, she had been raised to appreciate the classical arts of music, poetry and dance. All of them came to mind as she watched Soi Fon move, blindfolded, through the various forms. Centuries of military command had accustomed her to the sight of fighters training. She had seen the lethal dance countless times; had watched an endless number of battling warriors, their intent to main and hurt and kill etched into their grim, implacable faces. Fighting, in all her long life, had been about strength, survival, victory and prestige.

But she had never seen the martial arts as meditation, had never seen it as a discipline for its own sake - until she had entered the chamber and seen Soi Fon in her trance-like state, a moving blur of grace and economy.

Yoruichi smiled - and launched herself toward the back of the shifting form. Soi Fon whirled around, deflecting the older woman's kick with crossed wrists. All of Yoruichi's attacks ended the same way, Soi Fon easily dodging, blocking and parrying the thrusts and strikes. She didn't counterattack, apparently content to maintain a defensive stance. Yoruichi increased her speed, the punches and kicks coming in a faster and faster flurry, until they blended into a near-simultaneous assault from all sides - the hallmark offensive of the Goddess of Flash. And Soi Fon countered every single attack, each of her movements unhurried in their speed, controlled in their intensity. Finally, Yoruichi marshaled the strongest of her demon arts, flashes of white light pulsing at her fingertips (she had never had the chance to use the technique in close combat...) and, as time slowed to the space between heartbeats, thrust her glowing hand toward Soi Fon's delicate, exposed neck...

When the dust settled, Yoruichi saw that Soi Fon had trapped her attacking hand between two slender fingers. The sparks around the younger woman's hand told Yoruichi that she had released just enough of the shunkō to nullify Yoruichi's attack. The younger woman's breathing was even, although her loosely tied hair ribbon had slipped off sometime during the fight. With her other hand, Yoruichi reached out and tugged Soi Fon's blindfold free. Dark sapphire eyes gazed into golden yellow ones. Underneath the delicate cheekbones, Yoruichi could see a flush that had not appeared in all of their combat.

Soi Fon was the first to speak. "It's been a long time since we've trained together, Yoruichi-sama."

The older woman nodded with a faint smile. "It seems there's nothing left for me to teach you." She gently pulled her hand free of the younger woman's two-fingered grasp. "Why didn't you attack me?"

Soi Fon looked at Yoruichi with a hint of her old seriousness. "I broke my promise to protect you once, by raising a hand against you. I'd rather not break it again. Even if it is just training." The younger woman bent down to pick up her ribbon. Then tilting her head, she gracefully tied the raven locks tumbling down to her waist. Yoruichi had never seen Soi Fon make such an unconsciously feminine gesture. She found the sight more erotic than she had imagined. Gazing at the younger woman, Yoruichi said:

"You've changed, Soi Fon."

Soi Fon glanced briefly toward the older woman. "Well, shit happens, Yoruichi-sama."

Yoruichi couldn't help it. She burst out laughing. And, after a few moments, so did Soi Fon.

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